Ad campaign team suspended due to lack of sponsorship

TCU Campaigns, a student ad campaign team that has been ranked nationally during the previous three years, has been suspended for 2010.

The Director of the Schieffer School, John Lumpkin, wrote in an e-mail that recruitment for the 2010 Campaigns team would be suspended because the team’s adviser would be on medical leave.

Mike Wood, advertising professional-in-residence and Campaigns adviser, said he would not be able to sponsor the team because he will undergo a back surgery in December and would be on medical leave of absence next semester, when the program would take place.

The decision to suspend the team had not been taken lightly because of the team’s success in recent years, Lumpkin wrote.

John Tisdale, associate director of journalism and strategic communication, said the Schieffer School administration had worked diligently to keep the Campaigns team alive.

Lumpkin wrote that the Schieffer School administration explored creative alternatives, but no credible option materialized. He also wrote that it would be a disservice to previous Campaign teams to enter the competition with less than the best resources.

Finding an adviser for the spring semester had been contingent upon what the university would pay, Tisdale said. He added that it would be difficult to replace Wood.

Some people had turned down the position due to time commitments, Tisdale said.

Lumpkin wrote that the team would be back in the next academic year, but another national initiative would be available for the strategic communication students this year.

Those interested in The Bateman Competition, sponsored by the Public Relations Student Society of America, should contact Bateman sponsor Amiso George, Lumpkin wrote.

Each year, students at more than 600 colleges and universities participate in the National Student Advertising Competition, according to the TCU Campaigns Web site. The competition requires teams to resolve a marketing problem for a corporate sponsor and is sponsored by the American Advertising Federation.

Senior advertising and public relations major Lexie Cebulko was part of the 2009 team that placed ninth at the national competition. She said her membership on the team allowed her to work on all aspects of account planning, including creative components, media and promotions.

Cebulko said she was disappointed to hear that the 2010 team had been suspended. She said the program helped students realize their potential through working with passionate professors and peers.

Wood said he had been in charge of the team since 1999, when the Schieffer School of Journalism decided to bring back the program, which had been absent from the school for years. 2010 will be the first year since that absence that the team will be suspended.

No other professors could take over the program for next semester without sacrificing time spent on their other courses, Wood said.

Campaigns, part of a three-hour course, gives students real-world experience by bringing together students of various majors and disciplines to solve a problem, Wood said.

“Campaigns is not just a course; it’s a learning experience,” he said. “We work nights, weekends, we stay here during spring break, we stay here during the holidays. It’s sort of a really live job going on here.”

The Campaigns team accepts 15 to 18 students into the program each year, according to the TCU Campaigns Web site.

Last year, the team placed ninth with a binge drinking awareness campaign at the NSAC championship in Washington, D.C. Wood said students should check the Web site in the future for information about applications for the 2011 Campaigns team.

Staff reporter Paige McArdle contributed to this report.